Thursday, March 14, 2024

Weekly Cooking Report March 14: Chicken Wings with Garlic and Sumac

So yes, I should have given you this one before the Super Bowl, giving the wing consumption per capita that day, but better late than never and these are good at any time. Also, very simple as either the body of a meal or as the perpetual sporting event home viewing snack food. Last night we used them for dinner and my teenager was making audible "mmmmmm" noises as she ate. 

Note that in the picture above I am serving with my wife's homemade sourdough. If your spouse does not make homemade sourdough, well, middle eastern food goes great with couscous! (Also served with carrot and celery sticks because... wings.)

Shopping wise you're going to need one of those big packages of wings from your megamart - mine ran 5 lbs. and had about 20 wings in it. (why yes, we have leftovers that will serve me well). You'll also need one onion, a quarter cup of olive oil, a garlic bulb for 4 crushed garlic cloves* and some ground sumac. That last took my hitting a couple of megamarts to find, but like last week the concept of the meal is the main thing: if you like your food hotter rather than sharper, you can swap out the sumac with zaatar spice mix, which has sumac in it and is easier to find. Some kosher or sea salt finishes tings up. 

(* The thing about garlic is that it is sharper the more you cut it, but it also loses pungency over time; if you don't want to bother with buying a garlic head to get cloves, just swap in a like amount of the pre-minced garlic in a jar I've been asking you to use. Garlic is always to taste, not likely to hurt anything here.)

So the first thing to do is prep the wings. For me this just meant cooking shears to take the nubblins - the little end of the wings bits you don't eat - off of each one. If you're serving these as a game day snack, you can also use a knife to cut each of the wings in half into their two bone flatty and one bone roundy parts, but it's not necessary. 

Next, the marinade: juice the lemon (go ahead! no need to zest it this time!) into the olive oil and add the garlic (again, 4 bulbs crushed flat with the blade of a knife, or 1-2 teaspoons minced) and 1 tablespoon of the sumac. If you make this and find you want a sharper flavor and redder coloring (as we did) boost that to 2 tablespoons. Whisk everything together with a fork.

The recipe I used called for putting all the wings in a shallow dish and then rubbing the marinade all over them. If you get creeped out by handling all that cold dead flesh, put all the wings in a zip lock bag, pour the marinade into that, seal it, and mix/rub everything together through that. Cover the dish and chuck the wings into the fridge for 2-2.5 hours. 

About 40 minutes before meal time, move your oven shelf the 2nd highest position (assuming heating element is on top...), put some aluminum foil down on a cookie sheet (or don't if you don't mind the clean up on the sheet....), put the cookie sheet in the oven and start heating it to 400F. 

20 minutes before mealtime, take the chicken out of the fridge, carefully get that very hot cookie sheet out, and pour the chicken onto it, moving it with tongs to get them evenly distributed. You don't want them laying across each other. Try to get as much marinade as you can onto the wings. Put the sheet back in the oven and cook for 10-15 minutes. 

You want the chicken to be between the brown that i have in the picture above and lightly charred. Check it at the 8 minute mark, and if one side is getting too dark for your taste, flip them over. 

While this is happening, cut up the carrots and celery. I don't think you need me to tell you how to do that. 

Once the chicken is done, sprinkle lightly with salt and put it on a serving platter. Pour out all the juices and marinade into a bowl and whisk quickly for people to spoon onto the wings or bread (or couscous!) as they desire. serve to a grateful family. Or to whoever is watching the game. 

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